Vegetable seeds policy review

Australia depends heavily on imported seeds to produce a wide range of crops, including vegetables. Large quantities of these seeds are imported into Australia annually.

The distribution of pathogens (that cause disease) associated with seed is expanding across the world and new biosecurity risks continue to emerge. The trade in vegetable seeds has become globalised with seed being commercially developed, multiplied and processed across various countries instead of within a single country. As such, the risk of seeds being exposed to new pathogens, as well as the risk that these pathogens may enter Australia via imported seed, has increased.

The increased biosecurity risk associated with imported seed prompted us to review the import conditions of vegetable seeds that are imported for planting.

We initiated the review of import conditions for seeds of four vegetable families under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper. The four vegetable families being reviewed are:

  • Apiaceae (e.g. carrot, celery and parsnip)
  • Brassicaceae (e.g. broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower)
  • Cucurbitaceae (e.g. cucumber, watermelon and zucchini)
  • Solanaceae (e.g. capsicum, eggplant and tomato).

About the review

There are several steps in the policy review process:

  1. We identify any unwanted pests and diseases that might be found in the selected seed families and are not present in Australia. They then assess the risk of these pests and diseases being brought in with the seeds.
  2. We liaise with industry and relevant state and territory government representatives to gather stakeholder input to ensure we have all available scientific and other relevant information.
  3. After we publish the draft report, stakeholders are invited to submit comments during a 60 calendar day public consultation period.

The review was initially funded under the Australian Government’s Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper to strengthen biosecurity surveillance and analysis.

Keep informed

Register as a stakeholder

Subscribe to the plant stakeholder register to receive notices about plant biosecurity policies.

Subscribe to BICON to receive alerts when this case is published.

Contact us

For more information, email imports or phone 1800 900 090 (option 1, option 1).

Last reviewed: 9 June 2020
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